Essay On Corruption In Pakistan Wikipedia The Free

See also: Censorship in Pakistan and Internet censorship in Pakistan

Media in Pakistan provides information on television, radio, cinema, newspapers, and magazines in Pakistan. Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape; among the most dynamic in South Asia. To a large extent the media enjoys freedom of expression in spite of political pressure and direct bans sometimes administered by political stake holders.[1] Political pressure on media is mostly done indirectly. One tool widely used by the government is to cut off ‘unfriendly’ media from governmental advertising. Using draconian laws the government has also banned or officially silenced popular television channels. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has been used to silence the broadcast media by either suspending licenses or by simply threatening to do so. In addition, media is also exposed to propaganda from state agencies, pressured by powerful political elements and non-state actors involved in the current conflict.[1]

Media freedom in Pakistan is complicated, journalists are free to report on most things. however any articles critical of the Government or the Military and related security agencies are automatically censored. Anything perceived as blasphemous by the country's Blasphemy laws are also automatically subject to censorship.[2] The blasphemy laws are also used to block website based free media such as YouTube and others.[2]

The security situation for journalists in general has deteriorated in decade. At least 61 journalists have been killed since 2010[3] with at least 14 journalists killed in 2014 alone.[4] A climate of fear impedes coverage of both state security forces and the militant groups.Threats and intimidation against journalists and media workers by state and non-state actors is widespread.[1][5][6]

In its 2014 Press Freedom Index, Reporters without borders ranked Pakistan number 158 out of 180 countries based on freedom of the press.[7] While Freedom House in its latest report listed the media in Pakistan as "Not Free".[2]


Since 2002, the Pakistani media has become powerful and independent and the number of private television channels have grown from just three state-run channels in 2000 to 89 in 2012, according to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. Most of the private media in Pakistan flourished under the Musharraf regime.

Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape and enjoys independence to a large extent. After having been liberalised in 2002, the television sector experienced a media boom. In the fierce competitive environment that followed commercial interests became paramount and quality journalism gave way to sensationalism. Although the radio sector has not seen similar growth, independent radio channels are numerous and considered very important sources of information - especially in the rural areas.

The Pakistani media landscape reflects a multi-linguistic, multi-ethnic and class-divided society. There is a clear divide between Urdu and English media. The Urdu media, particularly the newspapers, are widely read by the masses - mostly in rural areas. The English media is urban and elite-centric, is more liberal and professional compared to the Urdu media. English print, television and radio channels have far smaller audiences than their Urdu counterparts, but have greater leverage among opinion makers, politicians, the business community and the upper strata of society.

Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape; among the most dynamic and outspoken in South Asia. To a large extent the media enjoys freedom of expression. More than 89 television channels beam soaps, satire, music programmes, films, religious speech, political talk shows, and news of the hour. Although sometimes criticise for being unprofessional and politically biased, the television channels have made a great contribution to the media landscape and to Pakistani society.

Radio channels are numerous and considered a very important source of information - especially in the rural areas. Besides the state channel Radio Pakistan, a number of private radios carry independent journalistic content and news. But most radio content is music and entertainment. There are hundreds of Pakistani newspapers from the large national Urdu newspapers to the small local vernacular papers.

Pakistan's media sector is highly influenced by the ownership structure. There are three dominating media moguls, or large media groups, which to some extent also have political affiliations. Due to their dominance in both print and broadcast industries all three media groups are very influential in politics and society.[1]


The media in Pakistan dates back to pre-partition years of British India, where a number of newspapers were established to promote a communalistic or partition agenda. The newspaper Dawn, founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and first published in 1941, was dedicated to promoting for an independent Pakistan. The conservative newspaper, Nawa-i-Waqt, established in 1940 was the mouthpiece of the Muslim elites who were among the strongest supporters for an independent Pakistan.

In a sense, Pakistani print media came into existence with a mission to promulgate the idea of Pakistan, which was seen as the best national option for the Muslim minority in British India and as a form of self-defence against suppression from the Hindu majority.[1]

Role in exposing corruption[edit]

Since the introduction of these vibrant TV channels, many major corruption cases and scams have been unveiled by journalists. Notable among them are:

“Malik Riaz’s case proved that the media can hold the judiciary and even itself accountable,” says Javed Chaudhry, columnist and anchorperson working with Express News. “This case, along with the missing persons' case has established impartiality and credibility of the media in its fight against corruption.” Chaudhry feels, like many others in country, that the media in Pakistan has become free and fair during the last decade. “The Pakistani media has covered the journey of 100 years in just 10 years, but their curiosity and thrust for revelation does not end and that is what drives the media.”[16]

TENSIONS: According to a report by the UK Foreign Office, Pakistan’s media environment continued to develop and, in many cases, flourish. Since opening up in 2002, the number and range of media outlets has proliferated, so that Pakistanis now have greater access than ever before to a range of broadcasting through print, television and online media. The increased media penetration into most aspects of Pakistani life has created challenges as well as opportunities, as both the journalistic community and politicians and officials build their understanding of effective freedom of expression and responsible reporting.[17]

However, in 2011, Reporters Without Borders listed Pakistan as one of the ten most deadly places to be a journalist. As the War in North-West Pakistan continues, there have been frequent threats against journalists. The proliferation of the media in Pakistan since 2002 has brought a massive increase in the number of domestic and foreign journalists operating in Pakistan. The UK Foreign Office states that it is vital that the right to freedom of expression continues to be upheld by the Pakistani Government. This was highlighted by an event supporting freedom of expression run by the European Union in Pakistan, which the United Kingdom supported.[18][19]

International co-operation[edit]

Support for creation of new media[edit]

In 2012-14, UPI Next with NearMedia LLC helped Pakistani journalists to create PakPolWiki, an online resource for coverage of the national elections, and Truth Tracker, a fact-checking website. In this project, the team held learning sessions across the country and conducted individual mentoring for journalists to produce stories that meet national and international standards.

NearMedia continued the effort with a project for 2014-15 that, in partnership with Media Foundation 360, launched News Lens Pakistan, an independent online news cooperative which publishes stories in English, Urdu and Pashto for a national audience, and distributes these stories to national and local news outlets. Learning sessions, in which editors work with reporters newsroom-style to improve their skills, are held in districts of all provinces, and international journalists work with the Pakistan team to mentor them individually.

Pakistan - US Journalists Exchange Program[edit]

Since 2011, the East-West Center (EWC), headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, have been organising the annual Pakistan - United States Journalists Exchange program. It was launched and designed to increase and deepen public understanding of the two countries and their important relationship, one that is crucial to regional stability and the global war on terrorism. While there have been many areas of agreement and cooperation, deep mistrust remains between the two, who rarely get opportunities to engage with each other and thus rely on media for their information and viewpoints. Unresolved issues continue to pose challenges for both countries.

This exchange offers U.S. and Pakistani journalists an opportunity to gain on-the-ground insights and firsthand information about the countries they visit through meetings with policymakers, government and military officials, business and civil society leaders, and a diverse group of other community members. All participants meet at the East-West Center in Hawaii before and after their study tours for dialogues focused on sensitive issues between the two countries; preconceived attitudes among the public and media in the United States and Pakistan; new perspectives gained through their study tours; and how media coverage between the two countries can be improved. Ten Pakistani journalists will travel to the United States and ten U.S. journalists will travel to Pakistan. This East-West Center program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy Islamabad Public Affairs Section.

The program provides journalists with valuable new perspectives and insights on this critically important relationship, a wealth of contacts and resources for future reporting, and friendships with professional colleagues in the other country upon whom to draw throughout their careers.[20]

International Center for Journalists[edit]

In 2011, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), a non-profit, professional organisation located in Washington, D.C. launched the U.S. - Pakistan Professional Partnership in Journalism program, a multi-year program which will bring 230 Pakistani media professionals to the United States and send 70 U.S. journalists to Pakistan. Journalists will study each other's cultures as they are immersed in newsrooms in each country.

The program will include events and opportunities to experience U.S. life, showcasing its diversity. Representatives from the U.S. media hosts will go to Pakistan for two-week programs during which they will learn the realities of Pakistani journalism and national life through site visits, interviews and opportunities to interact with journalists, officials and ordinary Pakistanis.

Pakistanis will receive four-week internships at U.S. media organizations.

Participants on both sides will have opportunities to report on their experiences in each country, which will help to educate their audiences and dispel myths and misconceptions that people carry in each country about residents of the other.

ICFJ has also established the Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) in Karachi, Pakistan. The CEJ serves as a hub for the professional development, training and networking of Pakistani journalists and media professionals from all parts of the country.[21]

Through targeted, practical trainings and the exchange component of the program, the CEJ aims to foster long-lasting connections between the participating universities, media outlets, and professional journalists.

A partnership with Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) aims to provide targeted, practical trainings for Pakistani journalists in print, broadcast, and digital media. Courses will be co-instructed by faculty from the Medill School, accomplished newsroom managers, editors and reporters from the United States, and prominent media professionals from Pakistan.



The first step in introducing media laws in the country was done by the then military ruler and President Ayub Khan who promulgated the Press and Publication Ordinance (PPO) in 1962. The law empowered the authorities to confiscate newspapers, close down news providers, and arrest journalists. Using these laws, Ayub Khan nationalised large parts of the press and took over one of the two largest news agencies. The other agencies was pushed into severe crisis and had to seek financial support from the government. Pakistani Radio and Television, which was established in 1964 was also brought under the strict control of the government.

More draconian additions were made to the PPO during the reign of General Zia-Ul-Haq in the 1980s. According to these new amendments, the publisher would be liable and prosecuted if a story was not to the liking of the administration even if it was factual and of national interest. These amendments were used to promote Haq's Islamist leanings and demonstrated the alliance between the military and religions leaders. Censorship during the Zia years was direct, concrete and dictatorial. Newspapers were scrutinised; critical or undesired sections of an article censored. In the wake of Zia-ul-Haq's sudden death and the return of democracy, the way was paved to abate the draconian media laws through a revision of media legislation called the Revised PPO (RPPO).

From 2002, under General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani media faced a decisive development that would lead to a boom in Pakistani electronic media and paved the way to it gaining political clout. New liberal media laws broke the state's monopoly on the electronic media. TV broadcasting and FM radio licenses were issued to private media outlets.

The military's motivation for liberalising media licensing was based on an assumption that the Pakistani media could be used to strengthen national security and counter any perceived threats from India. What prompted this shift was the military's experience during the two past confrontations with India. One was the Kargil War and the other was the hijacking of the India Airliner by militants. In both these instances, the Pakistani military was left with no options to reciprocate because its electronic media were inferior to that of the Indian media. Better electronic media capacity was needed in the future and thus the market for electronic media was liberalised.

The justification was just as much a desire to counter the Indian media power, as it was a wish to set the media "free" with the rights that electronic media had in liberal, open societies. The military thought it could still control the media and harness it if it strayed from what the regime believed was in the national interest - and in accordance with its own political agenda.

This assessment however proved to be wrong as the media and in particular the new many new TV channels became a powerful force in civil society. The media became an important actor in the process that led to fall of Musharraf and his regime. By providing extensive coverage of the 2007 Lawyer's Movement's struggle to get the chief justice reinstated, the media played a significant role in mobilising civil society. This protest movement, with millions of Pakistanis taking to the streets in the name of having an independent judiciary and democratic rule, left Musharraf with little backing from civil society and the army. Ultimately, he had to call for elections. Recently, due to a renewed interplay between civil society organisations, the Lawyers' Movement and the electronic media, Pakistan's new President, Asif Ali Zardari had to give in to public and political pressure and reinstate the chief justice. The emergence of powerful civil society actors was unprecedented in Pakistani history. These could not have gained in strength without the media, which will need to continue and play a pivotal role if Pakistan has to develop a stronger democracy, greater stability and take on socio-political reforms.

Whether Pakistan's media, with its powerful TV channels, is able to take on such a huge responsibility and make changes from within depends on improving general working conditions; on the military and the state bureaucracy; the security situation of journalists; media laws revision; better journalism training; and lastly on the will of the media and the media owners themselves.[1]

Legal framework[edit]

Though Pakistani media enjoy relative freedom compared to some of its South Asian neighbours, the industry was subjected to many undemocratic and regressive laws and regulations. The country was subjected to alternating military and democratic rule - but has managed to thrive on basic democratic norms. Though the Pakistani media had to work under military dictatorships and repressive regimes, which instituted many restrictive laws and regulations for media in order to 'control' it, the media was not largely affected. The laws are, however, detrimental to democracy reform, and represent a potential threat to the future of Pakistan and democracy.[1]


The root for the article 19 freedom of expression traced from South Asia when any body was directly sentenced to death if they uttered a single word against the government. The Pakistani Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the basic premise for media freedom. While emphasizing the state's allegiance to Islam, the constitution underlines the key civil rights inherent in a democracy and states that citizens:

Shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality.

Media laws[edit]

There are a number of legislative and regulatory mechanisms that directly and indirectly affect the media. Besides the Press and Publication Ordinance (PPO) mentioned, these laws include the Printing Presses and Publications Ordinance 1988, the Freedom of Information Ordinance of 2002, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) of 2002, the Defamation Ordinance of 2002, the Contempt of Court Ordinance of 2003, the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance 2003, the Press Council Ordinance 2002, the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan Ordinance 2005 and lastly the Access to Information Ordinance of 2006. Also there were attempts in 2006 for further legislation ostensibly "to streamline registration of newspapers, periodicals, news and advertising agencies and authentication of circulation figures of newspapers and periodicals (PAPRA)."

The liberalisation of the electronic media in 2002 was coupled to a bulk of regulations. The opening of the media market led to the mushrooming of satellite channels in Pakistan. Many operators started satellite and/or cable TV outlets without any supervision by the authorities. The government felt that it was losing millions of rupees by not 'regulating' the mushrooming cable TV business.

Another consequence of the 2002 regulations was that most of these were hurriedly enacted by President Musharraf before the new government took office. Most of the new laws that were anti-democratic and were not intended to promote public activism but to increase his control of the public. Many media activists felt that the new regulations were opaque and had been subject to interpretation by the courts which would have provided media practitioners with clearer guidelines.[1]

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority[edit]

Main article: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA, formerly RAMBO - Regulatory Authority for Media and Broadcast Organizations) was formed in 2002 to "facilitate and promote a free, fair and independent electronic media", including opening the broadcasting market in Pakistan.[22] By the end of 2009 PEMRA had:[23]

  • issued 78 satellite TV licenses;
  • issued "landing rights" to 28 TV channels operating from abroad, with more under consideration;
  • issued licenses for 129 FM radio stations, including 18 non-commercial licenses to leading universities offering courses mass communication and six licenses in Azad Jammu and Kashmir;
  • registered 2,346 cable TV systems serving an estimated 8 million households; and
  • issued six MMDS (Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service), two Internet protocol TV (IPTV), and two mobile TV licenses, with more under consideration.

PEMRA is also involved in media censorship and occasionally halts broadcasts and closes media outlets. Publication or broadcast of “anything which defames or brings into ridicule the head of state, or members of the armed forces, or executive, legislative or judicial organs of the state,” as well as any broadcasts deemed to be “false or baseless” can bring jail terms of up to three years, fines of up to 10 million rupees (US$165,000), and license cancellation. In practice, these rules and regulations are not enforced.[24]

In November 2011, Pakistani cable television operators blocked the BBC World News TV channel after it broadcast a documentary, entitled Secret Pakistan.[25] However, Pakistanis with a dish receiver can still watch it and can continue to access its website and web stream. Dr. Moeed Pirzada of PTV stated that it was hypocritical of the foreign media to label it as 'suppression of the media' when the United States continues to ban Al Jazeera English and no cable operator in the US would carry the channel. He also stated that even 'democratic' and 'liberal' Indians refuse to carry a single Pakistani news channel on their cable or any Pakistani op-ed writers in their newspapers.[26]


Main article: Television in Pakistan

Further information: List of Urdu language television channels

The first television station began broadcasting from Lahore on 26 November 1964. Television in Pakistan remained the government's exclusive control until 1990 when Shalimar Television Network (STN) and Network Television Marketing (NTM) launched Pakistan’s first private TV channel. Which was shut down very soon by PTV bureaucratic conspiracies. But it was of no use as til then cable TV network was already introduced in urbanized cities, like Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Foreign satellite TV channels were added during the 1990s.[23]

Traditionally, the government-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) has been the dominant media player in Pakistan. The PTV channels are controlled by the government and opposition views are not given much time. The past decade has seen the emergence of several private TV channels showing news and entertainment, such as GEO TV, AAJ TV, ARY Digital, HUM, MTV Pakistan, and others such as KTN, Sindh TV, Awaz TV, Kashish TV. Traditionally the bulk of TV shows have been plays or soap operas, some of them critically acclaimed. Various American, European, Asian TV channels, and movies are available to a majority of the population via Cable TV.[citation needed] Television accounted for almost half of the advertising expenditure in Pakistan in 2002.[27]

Using oppressive laws the government has also banned or officially silenced popular television channels. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has been used to silence the broadcast media by either suspending licenses or by simply threatening to do so. In many cases these channels were shifted to obscure numbers in channel line-up. In addition, media is also exposed to propaganda from state agencies, pressured by powerful political elements and non-state actors involved in the current conflict.[1] A number of channels have been shut down in the past with the latest such incident involving Geo TV and other channels in the Geo TV network after a Fatwa was issued against it.[28] The shutdown came after the network attempted to air allegations on the involvement of Inter-Services Intelligence in the attempted assassination of its leading anchor Hamid Mir.[29][30][31]


Main article: Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation

See also: List of Pakistani radio channels

The government-owned Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) was formed on 14 August 1947, the day of Pakistani independence. It was a direct descendant of the Indian Broadcasting Company, which later became All India Radio. At independence, Pakistan had radio stations in Dhaka, Lahore, and Peshawar. A major programme of expansion saw new stations open at Karachi and Rawalpindi in 1948, and a new broadcasting house at Karachi in 1950. This was followed by new radio stations at Hyderabad (1951), Quetta (1956), a second station at Rawalpindi (1960), and a receiving centre at Peshawar (1960). During the 1980s and 1990s the corporation expanded its network to many cities and towns of Pakistan to provide greater service to the local people. In October 1998, Radio Pakistan started its first FM transmission.[23]

Today, there are over a hundred public and private radio stations due to more liberal media regulations. FM broadcast licenses are awarded to parties that commit to open FM broadcasting stations in at least one rural city along with the major city of their choice.

The press is much more restricted in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where independent radio is allowed only with permission from the government.[24]


Main article: Cinema of Pakistan

See also: List of Pakistani films, Lollywood, Pashto cinema, Kariwood, Kara Film Festival, and Cinepax

In the ‘golden days’ of Pakistani cinema, the film industry churned out more than 200 films annually, today it’s one-fifth of what it used to be. The Federal Bureau of Statistics shows that once the country boasted at least 700 cinemas, this number has dwindled to less than 170 by 2005.[32]

The indigenous movie industry, based in Lahore and known as "Lollywood", produces roughly forty feature-length films a year.[citation needed]

In 2008 the Pakistani government partially lifted its 42-year ban on screening Indian movies in Pakistan.[33]

On April 27, 2016 Maalik became the first Pakistani film to be banned by the Federal Government after being cleared with Universal rating by all three Censor Boards and running in Cinemas for 18 days. The film has been banned under section 9 of the Motion Pictures Ordinance of 1979, a legislation which is redundant after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, where Censorship of films is no longer a Federal subject. Maalik (Urdu مالک) is a 2016 Pakistani Political, thriller film made by Ashir Azeem. The film was released on 8 April 2016 in cinemas across Pakistan. میں پاکستان کا شہری پاکستان کا مالک ھوں, the film extols the principle of Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Maalik is the desire of a common Pakistani for freedom, democracy and justice in a country that has been hijacked by the feudal elites after the departure of the British from the subcontinent and who continues to rule and mismanage an impoverished nation, while amassing huge personal fortunes for themselves. The film was banned in Pakistan by the Federal Government on April 27, 2016 for endangering democracy.

Newspapers, news channels, and magazines[edit]

Further information: List of newspapers in Pakistan, News channels in Pakistan, and List of magazines in Pakistan

In 1947, only four major Muslim-owned newspapers existed in the area now called Pakistan: Pakistan Times, Zamindar, Nawa-i-Waqt, and Civil-Military Gazette. A number of Muslim papers and their publishers moved to Pakistan, including Dawn, which began publishing daily in Karachi in 1947, the Morning News, and the Urdu-language dailies Jang and Anjam. By the early 2000s, 1,500 newspapers and journals existed in Pakistan.[34]

In the early 21st century, as in the rest of the world, the number of print outlets in Pakistan declined precipitously, but total circulation numbers increased.[citation needed] From 1994 to 1997, the total number of daily, monthly, and other publications increased from 3,242 to 4,455, but had dropped to just 945 by 2003 with most of the decline occurring in the Punjab Province. However, from 1994 to 2003 total print circulation increased substantially, particularly for dailies (3 million to 6.2 million). And after the low point in 2003 the number of publications grew to 1279 in 2004, to 1997 in 2005, 1467 in 2006, 1820 in 2007, and 1199 in 2008.[35]

Newspapers and magazines are published in 11 languages; most in Urdu and Sindhi, but English-language publications are numerous.[citation needed] Most print media are privately owned, but the government controls the Associated Press of Pakistan, one of the major news agencies. From 1964 into the early 1990s, the National Press Trust acted as the government's front to control the press. The state, however, no longer publishes daily newspapers; the former Press Trust sold or liquidated its newspapers and magazines in the early 1990s.[34]

The press is generally free and has played an active role in national elections, but journalists often exercise self-censorship as a result of arrests and intimidation by government and societal actors. The press is much more restricted in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where no newspapers are published, and in Azad Kashmir, where publications need special permission from the regional government to operate and pro-independence publications are generally prohibited.[24]

Press Council and newspaper regulation[edit]

Prior to 2002, News Agencies in Pakistan were completely unregulated. Established under the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance in October 2002, the body operates on a semi-autonomous nature along with an Ethical Code of Practice signed by President Musharraf. It is mandated with multi-faceted tasks that range from protection of press freedom to regulatory mechanisms and review of complaints from the public.

However, the Press Council never came into operation due to the reservations of the media organisations. In protest over its establishment, the professional journalists organisations refrained from nominating their four members to the Council. Nevertheless, the chairman was appointed, offices now exist and general administration work continues. This has led the government to review the entire Press Council mechanism.

The Press Council Ordinance has a direct link to the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance (PNNABRO) of 2002. This legislation deals with procedures for registration of publications of criteria of media ownerships.

Among the documents required for the permit or 'Declaration' for publishing a newspaper is a guarantee from the editor to abide by the Ethical Code of Practice contained in the Schedule to the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance. Though the Press Council procedure has made silenced or paralysed, these forms of interlinking laws could provide the government with additional means for imposing restrictions and take draconian actions against newspapers. The PNNABRO, among many other requirements demands that a publisher provides his bank details. It also has strict controls and regulations for the registering procedure. It not only demands logistical details, but also requires detailed information on editors and content providers.

Ownership of publications (mainly newspapers and news agencies) is restricted to Pakistani nationals if special government permission is not given. In partnerships, foreign involvement cannot exceed 25 percent. The law does not permit foreigners to obtain a 'Declaration' to run a news agency or any media station.[1]

News agencies[edit]

Pakistan's major news agencies include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcdefghij"Media in Pakistan: Between radicalisation and democratisation in an unfolding conflict"Archived 29 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine., International Media Support, July 2009, 56 pages.
  2. ^ abcFreedom of The Press 2014 - Pakistan. Freedom House. 
  3. ^"Pakistan Impunity Campaign". IFJ. Archived from the original on 20 January 2015. 
  4. ^"Another brutal year for journalists in Pakistan". IFJ. 
  5. ^World Report 2014(PDF). Human Rights Watch. 2014. pp. 366–372. 
  6. ^Amnesty Report 2013 - Pakistan. Amnesty International. 2014. 
  7. ^Press Freedom Index 2014. Reporters without Borders. 2014. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. 
  8. ^"Rs26 billion corruption: NAB given 3 months to probe steel mills case", Azam Khan, The Express Tribune, 17 May 2012.
  9. ^"National Insurance Company Limited Scandal". Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  10. ^"$500m corruption in PIA, says PTI", Pakistan Today, 26 February 2012.
  11. ^"Railways’ 2009-10 audit highlights massive corruption and losses", Irfan Bukhari, Pakistan Today. 22 November 2010.
  12. ^ 30 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^"Arrests made, warrants issued in Nato container case", Dawn Media Group, 1 July 2010.
  14. ^" US starts probe into rental power projects scam ", Ansar Abbasi, The News International, 23 June 2012.
  15. ^"Ephedrine Quota Case"Archived 26 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Awaz Internet TV.
  16. ^"Pakistani media’s fight against corruption: A Case Study for Afghan Media", Mokhtar Wafayi and Haris Bin Aziz, The Express Tribune, 23 July 2012.
  17. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  18. ^"Journalists in danger", Reporters Without Borders, 30 October 2012.
  19. ^Journalist’s secret fund List, Constitution Petition No.105/2012, No. 104/2012, No. 53/1012, and No. 117/2012, Supreme Court of Pakistan, 22 April 2013.
  20. ^"Pakistan-United States Journalists Exchange"Archived 23 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine., East-West Center (Honolulu).
  21. ^
  22. ^Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002 as Amended in 2007Archived 22 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine., 19 July 2007.
  23. ^ abcPERMA Annual Report 2009[permanent dead link], Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, 22 December 2009.
  24. ^ abc"Country report: Pakistan (2010)", Freedom of the Press 2010, Freedom House, 27 April 2010.
  25. ^"Pakistan blocks BBC World News TV channel". BBC News. November 29, 2011. 
  26. ^"Who Says BBC Is Banned In Pakistan?", Facebook, 1 December 2011.
  27. ^(PDF) Archived from the original(PDF) on 6 October 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  28. ^"Cable operators urge PEMRA to shut down Geo", The Express Tribune, 17 May 2014.
  29. ^"Pakistan's Geo News becomes latest target in blasphemy accusation trend", Jon Boone, The Guardian, 22 May 2014.
  30. ^"Pakistan Is Asked to Shut Down News Channel", Declan Walsh and Salman Masoodapril, New York Times, 22 April 2014.
  31. ^"Pakistan’s most popular Geo channels shut down", Ahmad Noorani, The News International, 22 May 2014.
  32. ^"In-depth: Pakistan’s film industry and cinema culture", Sara Faruqi, Dawn, 15 December 2010.
  33. ^"The India-Pakistan Thaw Continues", Simon Robinson, Time, 10 March 2008.
  34. ^ abPress Reference: Pakistan, Advamag, Inc. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  35. ^Newspapers and periodicals by language and province 1999 to 2008Archived 13 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Provincial Public Relation Departments, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Government of Pakistan, 27 April 2009.

External links[edit]

"GoP" redirects here. For other uses, see GOP (disambiguation).

The Government of Pakistan (Urdu: حکومتِ پاکستان‬‎) is a federal government established by the Constitution of Pakistan as a constituted governing authority of the five provinces of a proclaimed and established parliamentary democraticrepublic, constitutionally called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.[1]

Effecting the Westminster system for governing the state, the government is mainly composed of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, in which all powers are vested by the Constitution in the Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Supreme Court.[2] The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts and amendments of the Parliament, including the creation of executive institutions, departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.[2] By constitutional powers, the President promulgates ordinances and passes bills. The President acts as the ceremonial figurehead while the people-electedPrime Minister acts as the chief executive (of the executive branch) and is responsible for running the federal government. There is a bicameral Parliament with the National Assembly as a lower house and the Senate as an upper house. The judicial branch systematically contains an apex Supreme Court, high courts of five provinces, district, anti-terrorism, Sharia, and the green courts; all inferior to the Supreme Court.[2]

The full name of the country is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. No other name appears in the Constitution, and this is the name that appears on money, in treaties, and in legal cases. The "Pakistan Government" or "Government of Pakistan" are often used in official documents representing the federal government collectively.[2] Also, the terms "Federal" and "National" in government institutions or program names generally indicate affiliation with the federal government. Because the seat of government is in Islamabad, "Islamabad" is commonly used as a metonym for the federal government.[2]

Federal law and Constitution[edit]

The Constitution of Pakistan established and constituted the federal government of four provinces of federation of nation-state, known as State of Pakistan. The Constitution reads as:

The Federal Government is Subject to the Constitution. The executive authority of the Federation shall be exercised in the name of the President by the Federal Government, consisting of the Prime Minister and the (Federal) Ministers, which shall act through the Prime Minister, who shall be the chief executive of the Federation.
In the performance of his functions under the Constitution, the Prime Minister may act either directly or through the (Federal) Ministers.

— Constitution of Pakistan: Part III: The Federation of Pakistan— Chapter 3: The Federal Government, Article 196–197, source[3]

The basic civil and criminal laws governing the citizens of Pakistan are set down in major parliamentary legislation (a term inherited from theUnited Kingdom), such as the Exit Control List, the Pakistan Penal Code, and the Frontier Crimes Regulations. By the Article 246th and Article 247th to the constitution, the Islamic Jirga (or Panchayat) system has become an institution for local governance.[4][5] The 1950s reforms in the government administration, the constitutional law and jurisprudence in Pakistan have been greatly influenced by the United States Of America ' legal system. Since the 1970s, the traditional jirga-based law has also influenced the country's judicial development.[6]

Branches of government[edit]

Legislative branch[edit]

Main article: Parliament of Pakistan

The legislative branch is known as the parliament, a term for legislature inherited from the United Kingdom. The parliament has two houses;

  • The National Assembly is the lower house and has 342 members. 272 are elected directly by the people, while 70 seats are reserved for women and religious minorities.
  • The Senate is the upper house and has 104 senators elected indirectly by members of provincial assemblies for six-year terms.

The Parliament enjoys parliamentary supremacy. All the Cabinet ministers as well as the Prime Minister must be members of Parliament (MPs), according to the constitution. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers are jointly accountable to the Parliament. If there is a policy failure or lapse on the part of the government, all the members of the cabinet are jointly responsible. If a vote of no confidence is passed against the government, then the government collapses and a new one must be formed.

Executive branch[edit]

By general definition, the executive branch of government is the one that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the republican idea of the separation of powers. The separation of powers system is designed to distribute authority away from the executive branch – an attempt to preserve individual liberty in response to tyrannical leadership throughout history.

Prime Minister and Cabinet[edit]

The Prime Minister of Pakistan (Urdu: وزيراعظم; lit: 'Wazir-e- Azam), is the executive head of government of Pakistan, constitutionally designated as the Chief Executive (CE).[7] Popularly elected by direct elections in the parliament, the Prime minister is responsible for appointing a cabinet as well as running the government operations.[7]

The Prime Minister duly appoints the directors, executives, chairmen in almost all state institutions and corporations, including;

  • Key administrative and military personnel in the Pakistan Armed Forces.
  • The Chairmen and other Members of the federal commissions and public institutions.
  • Ambassadors and High Commissioners to other countries.
  • The cabinet secretaries and directors in the administrative positions of the government.

The Cabinet can have a maximum of 11 percent (50 members including the Prime Minister) of the total strength of the Parliament.[8] Each Cabinet member must be a member of Parliament (MP).[9] The Cabinet Ministers chair the Cabinet and are further assisted by the Cabinet Secretary of Pakistan, whose appointment comes from the Civil Services of Pakistan. Other Ministers are Ministers of State, junior members who report directly to one of the Cabinet Ministers, often overseeing a specific aspect of government.[9]

Once appointed by the Prime Minister, all Cabinet Ministers are officially confirmed to their appointment offices by the President in a special oath of ceremony.[9]


Main article: Pakistani presidency

The President of Pakistan is a ceremonial figurehead, a ceremonial head of state representing the unity of the country.

Elected for a five-year term by an indirect election, the electoral college consisting of members of the Senate, National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies, the president is eligible for reelection.[9] However no individual may hold the office for more than two consecutive terms. The president may resign or be impeached and removed from office for incapacity or gross misconduct by a two-thirds vote of the members of the parliament.[9]

The President enjoys all constitutional powers and exercises them directly or through officers subordinate to him as per the aforesaid Article 41-Article 47.[10]

The President is responsible for making a wide variety of appointments.[10]

These include:

The President, as Head of State also receives the credentials of Ambassadors from other countries, whilst the Prime Minister, as Head of Government, receives credentials of High Commissioners from other members of the Commonwealth, in line with historical tradition.

The President is the civilian Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces.[11]

The President of Pakistan can grant a pardon to or reduce the sentence, reprieve and respite, and remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority, particularly in cases involving a death sentence.[10] The decisions involving pardoning and other rights by the President are independent of the opinion of the Prime Minister or the Parliamentary majority. In most other cases, however, the President exercises his or her executive powers on the advice of the Prime Minister.[10]

Judicial branch[edit]

Main article: Supreme Court of Pakistan

Pakistan's independent judicial system began under the British Raj, and its concepts and procedures resemble those of Anglo-Saxon countries. Institutional and judicial procedures were later changed, in 1950s, under the influence of American legal system to remove the fundamental rights problems.[4] The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Provincial High Courts, District Courts, Anti-terrorism courts, Sharia courts, and Environmental courts all over the country; Supreme Court being the superior court.[2] The Supreme Court of Pakistan consists of a Chief Justice, and Senior Justices appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The Constitution does not fix the number of justices of the Supreme Court, though it can be fixed by Parliament through an act signed by the President.[12]

Judicature transfer[edit]

The Constitution grants powers to the Supreme Court to make judicature transfers.[12] Although the proceedings in the Supreme Court arise out of the judgement or orders made by the subordinate courts, the Supreme Court reserves the right to transfer any case, appeal or proceedings pending before any High Court to any other High Court.[12]

Supreme Judicial Council[edit]

Misconduct of judges is highly intolerable as is mentioned in the constitution. Under the mainframe of the Supreme Judicial CouncilArticle 209 an inquiry into the capacity or conduct of a Judge, who is a member of the Council, may be conducted.

Civil service[edit]

Main articles: Pakistan Administrative Service and Central Superior Services of Pakistan

The civil service of Pakistan is a permanent bureaucracy of the Government of Pakistan. The civil servants are the permanent officials of the government, occupying a respected image in the civil society. Civil servants come from different departments (e.g. Pakistan Administrative Service, Police Service of Pakistan etc.) Not all the employees of the Government of Pakistan are civil servants; other employees of the Government of Pakistan come from the scientific institutions, state-owned corporations and commissioned military science circles.

In the parliamentary democracy, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the elected representatives of the people which are the ministers. These ministers are accountable to the legislatures which are also elected by the people on the basis of universal adult suffrage. The cabinet and its ministers are expected to lay down the policy guidelines, and the civil servants are the responsible in implementing and enforcing it.

Federal secretaries[edit]

Main article: Federal Secretary

The federal secretaries are the most senior, experienced, and capable officials in the country. Each ministry/division has its Secretary to oversee and enforce the public policy matters. The secretaries, who are basic pay scale (BPS)-22 grade officers, are largely considered to be the most powerful officials in the country; especially the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Cabinet Secretary of Pakistan and Establishment Secretary of Pakistan who work in close coordination with the Prime Minister.[13][14]

Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordination of activities of the various Ministries in such situations are the functions of the Cabinet Division. Appointment for the chairman of the FPSC, the prestigious body responsible for the recruitment of elite bureaucrats, is made by the President after consulting the Prime Minister, according to Article 242 of the Constitution.[15]

Elections and voting system[edit]

Main articles: Politics of Pakistan, Military coups in Pakistan, and Elections in Pakistan

Since 1947, Pakistan has an asymmetric federal government, with elected officials at the national (federal), provincial, tribal, and local levels. Constitution has set the limit of government for five years, but if a Vote of no confidence movements takes place in the parliament (and prelude of movements are proved at the Judicial branch), the government falls and immediately replaced with caretaker government initiated by the president (consultation of Prime Minister also required to make such move), in regards to Article 58 of the constitution.[16]

There has been four times that the martial law has been in effect, and controversially approved by the supreme court.[9] Through a general election where the leader of the majority winning party is selected to be the Prime Minister.[9] All members of the federal legislature, the Parliament, are directly elected. Elections in Pakistan take place every five years by universal adult suffrage.[9]

Administration and governments[edit]

Provincial, Tribal, and Local governments[edit]

Main articles: Provincial Governments of Pakistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Local government in Pakistan, and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas

There are four provincial governments that rule the four provinces of the state; the Chief Minister heads the state government. All provincial assemblies are unicameral, elected for five years.[17][17] The Governors appointed by President after consulting the Prime minister, act only as representatives of federal government in the province and do not have any part in running the government.

The provincial governments tend to have the greatest influence over most Pakistanis' daily lives. The tribal and Local government functions at the basic level.[18] It is the third level of government, consisting Jirga in rural tribal areas.[11]


Main articles: State Bank of Pakistan, National Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Remittance Initiative, and Tax on cash withdrawal

Taxation and budget[edit]

Main articles: Taxation in Pakistan, 2014 Pakistan federal budget, and Foreign trade of Pakistan

Pakistan has a complex taxation system of more than 70 unique taxes administered by at least 37 tax collection institutions of the Government of Pakistan.[19] Taxation is a debated and controversial issue in public and political science circle of the country, and according to the International Development Committee, Pakistan had a lower-than-average tax take.[20] Only 0.57% of Pakistanis, or 768,000 people out of a population of 190 million pay income tax.[20]

The Finance Minister of Pakistan presents the annual federal budget in the Parliament in the midst of the year, and it has to be passed by the both houses of the Parliament.[21] The budget is preceded by an economic survey which outlines the broad direction of the budget and the economic performance of the country for the outgoing financial fiscal year.[22]

NFC program overview[edit]

Main article: NFC award

Constituted under the Article 160 of the Constitution by the Constitution, the National Finance Commission Award (NFC) program is a series of planned economic programs to take control of financial imbalances and equally manage the financial resources for the four provinces to meet their expenditure liabilities while alleviating the horizontal fiscal imbalances.[23]

According to stipulations and directions of the Constitution, the provisional governments and Federal government compete to get higher share of the program's revenues in order to stabilize their own financial status.[24]



Main article: Corruption in Pakistan

The corruption is on-going issue in the government, claiming to take initiatives against it,[25] particularly in the government and lower levels of police forces.[26] In 2011, the country has had a consistently poor ranking at the Transparency International'sCorruption Perceptions Index with scores of 2.5,[27] 2.3 in 2010,[28] and 2.5 in 2009[29] out of 10.[30] In 2011, Pakistan ranked 134 on the index with 42 countries ranking worse.[31] In 2012, Pakistan's ranking dropped even further from 134 to 139, making Pakistan the 34th most corrupt country in the world, tied with Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal, and Nigeria.[32]

Circular debt and spending priorities[edit]

Main article: Federal Board of Revenue (Pakistan)

Since before the collapse of the USSR in 1991, progressive economic liberalization has been carried out by the government both at the provincial and the national level. Pakistan has achieved FDI of almost $8.4 billion in the financial fiscal year of 2006–07, surpassing the government target of $4 billion.[33] Despite this milestone achievement, the Foreign investment had significantly declined by 2010, dropping by ~54.6% due to Pakistan's military operations, financial crises, law and order situation in Karachi, according to the Bank of Pakistan.[34] From the 2006 estimate, the Government expenditures were ~$25 billion.

Funding in science and education has been a primary policy of the Government of Pakistan, since 1947. Moreover, English is fast spreading in Pakistan, with 18 million Pakistanis[35] (11% of the population)[35] having a command over the English language, which makes it the 3rd Largest English Speaking Nation in the world and the 2nd largest in Asia.[35] On top of that, Pakistan produces about 445,000 university graduates and 10,000 computer science graduates per year.[36] Despite these statistics, Pakistan still has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world[37] and the second largest out of school population (5.1 million children) after Nigeria.[38]

Debts and deficit[edit]

Main articles: Foreign aid to Pakistan and Periods of Stagflation

As per the CIA World Factbook, in 2010, Pakistan ranks 63rd in the world, with respect to the public external debt to various international monetary authorities (owning ~$55.98 billion in 2010), with a total of 60.1% of GDP.[39]

Since 2009, Pakistan has been trying to negotiate debt cancellation currently Pakistan spends $3 billion on debt servicing annually to largely western nations and the International Monetary Fund.[40]

Ministries and divisions[edit]

Main article: Cabinet of Pakistan


Main article: List of federal agencies of Pakistan

Overview of the index of perception of corruption, 2015
In 1947–1951, the literacy rate was ~16.40% but literacy rate is now ~69.0% (out of 80.00%). Still, Pakistan has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world.
Map of countries by external debt in US$, 2006
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